Literacy @ RJ Grey


posted Mar 31, 2017, 7:22 AM by Joan Celebi

Scrabble is a great game for practicing spelling, planning, and strategic thinking.  Today was Scrabble Day in reading class!  In addition to the rules of Scrabble, we talked about some tips and tricks for playing your best game.  Here are just a few:

1. Don't just leave your letters in your tray and stare at them hoping to think of a word to put down on the board.  Shuffle the letters around, either on your tray or spread out on the table in front of you.  This will help you see so many more possibilities for words!  

2. Look at the letters that are available on the board BEFORE you start to make words with your letters.  That way you won't waste time and effort coming up with the perfect word, only to find that there is no place for it on the board!

3. You can always add an ending to a word that is already on the board.  For example, add an -s to make a noun plural.  Or add an -ed or -ing to a verb.  

4. Try to make words that contain at least 4 letters!  The longer the words on the board, the more options you will have for placing other words on the board as the game progresses.

If you don't own a scrabble game, there is an online version you can play for free.  Just search online for Scrabble.  Have fun and good luck!

Fake or Real?

posted Mar 15, 2017, 7:08 AM by Joan Celebi

Recently, students in reading classes spent a lot of time learning all about fake news on the internet.  What is it?  Who writes it, and why?  What problems does it pose for ourselves individually, and us as a nation?  And most importantly, how can you tell if a news item that you see on the internet is real or fake?

After some exploration and discussion, we came up with some telltale things to look for when deciding whether a news article or video might be fake:
  • Does the domain name (URL) of the website look legitimate?
  • Does the author's name appear with the article?
  • Does the website contain informational pages such as an "About" page, Contact Information, etc.?
  • What kinds of ads appear on the website?
  • How is the headline written?  Are there capitalized words, exclamation points, and sensationalist language?
  • The 10 second rule:  if you stop and think about what the headline is saying for 10 seconds, does it make sense?
We also spent time practicing how to check whether a story is fake or real:
  • Check other known reputable websites to see whether they are reporting the same story.
  • Check the official website of the person, company, or organization in the article to see if the story is discussed there.
Please share these tips with your friends, neighbors, and family so that they too can avoid being tricked by fake news!

World Read Aloud Day is Coming Up!

posted Jan 27, 2017, 8:26 AM by Joan Celebi   [ updated Jan 27, 2017, 8:26 AM ]

Did you know there is a World Read Aloud Day every year in February?  I just heard about it!  This year, World Read Aloud Day will be Thursday, February 16th.  

Reading aloud isn't just for little kids or bedtime!  Reading aloud for 7th and 8th graders can take the form of sharing aloud news items they find interesting, reading or singing lyrics along with a favorite song, and much more.  Older brothers and sisters can read aloud to their younger siblings - which can be lots of fun and enhances everyone's literacy skills in the process.  And many families either already have, or are rediscovering, the traditional read-aloud time -- but with books for older students.  Wonder, the Percy Jackson books, and the Harry Potter series are some that my students have told me they have enjoyed reading aloud with their families.  

How about audiobooks?  They are another form of reading aloud / having a book read to you.  Audiobooks have exploded in popularity in recent years.  Check out the great selection of audiobooks, in many forms (CDs, PlayAways, Hoopla, etc.), available at your local library - all for FREE!

If you haven't read anything aloud with your family or friends in a while, why wait until February 16th?  Grab a book, magazine, comic book, whatever you like - and start reading aloud today!

Thanksgiving Fun Facts

posted Nov 23, 2016, 5:43 AM by Joan Celebi   [ updated Nov 23, 2016, 5:43 AM ]

Did you know ...?
Wild turkeys can run 20 miles an hour!
Ben Franklin wanted the national bird to be the turkey - not the eagle!
Only male turkeys gobble.  Female turkeys cackle!
Every year, the U.S. President pardons a turkey.  Last year's pardoned turkey got to go to Disney World!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Check out for balanced info on controversial topics

posted Nov 16, 2016, 5:27 PM by Joan Celebi   [ updated Nov 16, 2016, 5:28 PM ]

This week my 8th grade reading classes practiced some During Reading strategies using articles from  We had some very lively debates!  It's a great website that presents a variety of controversial topics in an organized and balanced way.  Each "pro" and "con" is numbered and explained clearly so that readers can decide where they stand on the issues, with the confidence of knowing that they've considered all the facts!  This is a great resource not only for students, but for anyone who wants to learn more about today's controversial topics.  

November Reading Class Newsletter

posted Nov 8, 2016, 8:02 AM by Joan Celebi   [ updated Nov 8, 2016, 8:03 AM ]

Curious to know what we've been up to in reading class lately?  Click here to read the November issue of the reading class newsletter!

Games to Practice Reading Related Skills

posted Nov 4, 2016, 11:31 AM by Joan Celebi   [ updated Nov 4, 2016, 11:33 AM ]

Someone just asked me for a list of games that utilize reading related skills, so I thought I'd share it here!  Have fun!
  • Scrabble (my personal favorite!  In addition to spelling, this game also often leads to valuable vocabulary discussions.)
  • Apples to Apples (inferential thinking, supporting arguments with reasoning)
  • Double Ditto (categories vs. examples; main ideas vs. details)
  • Scattergories (may help with same skills as Double Ditto but I haven't played it yet, so I'm not totally sure)
  • Family Feud  (categories/examples; main ideas details)
  • Guess Who (process of elimination; inductive/deductive reasoning)
  • Wheel of Fortune (another personal favorite!  Builds vocabulary, background knowledge, idiomatic language, spelling.)

Used book sale in Boxborough this Saturday!

posted Oct 31, 2016, 7:49 AM by Joan Celebi   [ updated Oct 31, 2016, 7:50 AM ]

Hey everyone, it's another great used book sale!  This one will be at the Boxborough (Sargent) Library on Saturday, November 5th, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  
This is a fantastic way to grab a few books that you can read for fun.  I've been going to this annual event for several years now, and I am always excited to see the great variety of popular books in like-new condition for tweens and teens!  I will be there again this year picking out a few good titles for my borrowing shelf.  I hope to see you there!  :)

October Reading Class Newsletter

posted Oct 18, 2016, 8:09 AM by Joan Celebi   [ updated Oct 18, 2016, 8:12 AM ]

Curious what we've been doing in reading class so far this month?  Click on the link below to learn more!

Acton Memorial Library Used Book Sale This Saturday!

posted Oct 10, 2016, 2:39 PM by Joan Celebi   [ updated Oct 10, 2016, 2:40 PM ]

Don't miss this fantastic event.  There's something for everyone at the Acton Memorial Library used book sale!  Get there early for the best selection.  There are always tons of like-new books for tweens and teens -- all of their current favorite authors and titles!  If you come in the morning, you may see me there, snapping up a few good books for my "borrowing shelf!"  

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